Facebook Twitter Pinterest RSS Feeds The Weekly Post - The Official GiftsIn24.com Blog

Writing Tip: Affect vs. Effect

Affect versus effect: what's the differenceWhat’s the difference between the words “Affect” and “Effect”? Have you ever scurried to the dictionary to find out while writing a letter, email, resume, job interview thank you, etc.?

The Answer Is…

“Affect” is generally used as a verb: it means to influence or have an impact on, or to move, touch or make an impression on.

“Going without my morning cup of coffee affects my energy level for the rest of the day.”

“That compelling movie really affected me.”

On the other hand, we usually use the word “Effect”as a noun: it means a consequence or result of some cause.

“Your effect on me is electric.”

The upshot? When pondering which word to use — Affect or Effect — try to remember this nmemonic:

The cause creates THE E-ffect.

Remember that long E sound of the, leading into the long E sound of effect. “Effect” is a noun.

And then from there, you can remember that “Affect” is a verb.

Editor’s Note: Of course, when we’re talking grammar, there are always exceptions to the rules.  We list them here only because they’re interesting, but you don’t need to remember these, because they are very rarely used. There are some very rare occasions when we use “Affect” as a noun, but it is usually in the jargon/language of psychology and not in general conversation.  By the same token, you can sometimes use “Effect” as a verb, but it can sound stilted and not very conversational, so we usually avoid this use: “We effected change by following five key steps.”

One Stamp, Lots of Love

Giftsin24 cards take just a single first class stamp.

Part of the fun of sending a letter is finding beautiful stamps for the envelope. Stationery from giftsin24 takes just a single first class stamp.

How much does it cost to send one of our cards or notes to a friend? Just the care and time to write it, plus one single first class stamp.

A Giftsin24 card or note, including the envelope, weighs about one ounce. Sending one through the United States Postal Service (USPS) requires just a single stamp (standard first class postage).

To keep things even more simple, purchase a sheet of “Forever” stamps at the post office, and you won’t have to worry about adding make-up postage when the rates change in a year or two.

In addition, our cards and notes, including our oversized Cheseapeake line, fit within USPS maximum dimensions for standard first class postage.

One Exception

The one exception is our Gift Enclosures, which measure less than the 3.5 inch by 5 inch minimum dimensions that the USPS requires. If you try to send a Gift Enclosure through the mail system, it will be rejected. Learn more here.

See USPS’s handy postage calculator for domestic and international letters: http://postcalc.usps.gov

Looking for Giftsin24 shipping rates and delivery information? Please visit this page: http://www.giftsin24.com/content/help-shipping

Thank a Teacher, Teach a Thanker

Writing tips for teacher thank you notes

It’s that time of year to thank the teachers in your life, whether you’re 2 or 92.

Everyone has a teacher to thank, whether you’re 2 or 92. If you’re learning how to read, trying to code a video game, or are working on your guitar fingering, teachers are right there along with you, guiding you, cheering you on and encouraging you to work through mistakes.

One of the best ways to acknowledge a teacher’s value in your life is by writing him or her a thank you note, according to the National PTA. And writing a thank you note to a teacher is one of the best ways to teach a child how to show gratitude. Here are 3 tips to writing the perfect thank you note to a teacher.

Three Writing Tips

1. Be thankful. This is a thank you note, and so say it ! “Thank you for all your hard work with me this year.” “Thank you for helping me be the best I can be.” You get the picture.

2. Be specific. If you can point to a specific example or time that the teacher helped you, you’ll make the note become more personal and all the more treasured.  “I am so relieved that I know fractions now.” “The way you encouraged me to work on my fingering has given me more confidence than I ever imagined I could have.”

3. Be expansive. Teachers have dedicated their lives to making the world a better place. Wax poetic about their importance to you, your school or the world at large. You can never compliment a teacher too much.

Writing Tips: Serial Comma Conundrum

Writing tips from giftsin24.com

When should you use a comma when listing nouns or verbs?

Recently at Giftsin24.com, a bunch of us were talking about whether or not to use the comma before the “and” when you write a sentence that includes a series of nouns or verbs. That’s called a “serial comma.”

For example, do you write “Melanie, Anthony and Esther went to the store.”?

Or “Melanie, Anthony, and Esther went to the store.”?

When it comes down to it, it’s a matter of style. There are many style manuals out there, but the two most used in publishing are the AP Manual of Style (used in journalism and newspapers) and The Chicago Manual of Style (used in book publishing).

Leave serial comma out unless there’s confusion

The AP Manual of Style does not recommend routinely using the extra comma before the “and.”

Exceptions where you might use it are in situations where the meaning would be confusing, such as this:

“Last week I cooked my favorite recipes: pepperoni pizza, orange chicken and wild rice and seared steak.”

Is the rice part of the chicken dish or the steak dish? Hmmm. In this case the writer should help readers out by using a comma before the “and.”

Keep things simply by being consistent

Because we live in an imperfect world, The Chicago Manual of Style encourages the consistent use of the comma before the “and.” You don’t have to think about it; simply always use it and there will never be confusion.

So there you have it: serial commas made easy. Pick your style and stick with it. You’ll never go wrong!

It’s vs. Its: An Easy Way to Remember The Difference

Grammar and Writing tips from Giftsin24.com

Learn to Love Telling the Difference Between It’s and Its

You may be years out of high school and don’t have a teacher grading your writing anymore, but do you know that work colleagues, business clients and even friends may be secretly judging you by your grammar? And while most friends won’t drop you because you make an occasional grammar slip, potential employers or clients just might toss your resume or sales letter.

One of the most common grammar mistakes is using “it’s” in place of “its.” Here is a quick run-down on how and when to use these commonly mixed-up words.

It’s a contraction

“It’s” is a contraction that means “it is.” The apostrophe replaces the space and the missing letter/s of the second word…just as the apostrophe replaces the missing letters in “can’t” (can not) and “don’t”  (do not).

Example: It is a fine day. It’s a fine day.

Its definition is easy to remember

On the other hand, “its” is the possessive form of the word “it.” We add an “s” to the ends of words to indicate that something belongs to someone or something else: hers, his, theirs, ours, etc.

Example: That shoe is hers. The cat licked its paws.

The confusion arises because we attach ” ‘s ” to names and nouns to make them possessive. “Deanne’s shoes are clean.” “The cat’s paws are dirty.”

It’s  (it is) so tempting to add an apostrophe to “Its paws are dirty.” But don’t!

So the next time you write the three little letters i-t-s, think before you add that apostrophe before the s.

If it’s a contraction, meaning “it is” or “it has,” include the apostrophe.

If its meaning is possessive, then leave it out.

Holiday Thank You Notes

Your children have opened their carefully wrapped presents. The evidence is everywhere . . . ribbons and bows are strewn across the floor. Crumpled tissue paper explodes out of boxes.

The merriment of the holiday is winding down to everyday life again. Now comes a teachable moment that will last your children a lifetime: thanking the generous friends and family in their lives.

Teaching children from a young age that it’s important to express their gratitude helps lay the groundwork for thoughtfulness and appreciation. Not only will they learn the importance of courtesy, they will be developing their communication skills as well.

Holiday Thank You Note How-Tos

Here are a few helpful hints to make the “chore” of writing holiday thank you notes both fun and rewarding:

• Set aside a specific time to sit down with your children and help them with their thank you notes to Grandma and Grandpa. Find a comfortable, well-lit place to relax and settle in. This helps them focus on the task at hand and avoid distractions. It’s no fun to have to nag or rush!

• Have the writing paper and envelopes, pens, markers, stickers and stamps ready and available. Kids will especially love being able to write thank yous on their very own stationery.

• If your child is still very young, you may need to be the designated writer; however, even young children can print their name or draw a picture to accompany the words you supply. Children will enjoy embellishing the note with their own stickers and drawings.

Children will love writing holiday thank you notes on their very own stationery!

Children will love writing holiday thank you notes on their very own stationery!

• Be sincere. You want your kids to be authentic. Even if the gift wasn’t something they love, encourage them to thank the giver in genuine appreciation: “It must have taken you a long time to knit the sweater for me. Thank you!”

• Do it sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the less enthusiastic your child will be and the easier it will be to let the good intentions evaporate.

• But do it later, too! Wouldn’t it be fun to make someone’s day by sending them a brief note, long after the holidays, reminding them of their gift and how it’s still being appreciated? “Remember that blue shirt you gave me for Christmas? Here’s a picture of me wearing it when we went to Disneyland.”

• Teach them how to fold the letter or card and tuck it into the envelope. Attach the stamp. Take a special trip to the post office to drop it into the slot. Children will enjoy personally sending their note off to its destination.

Finally, praise your child for their time and effort in writing a thank you. Explain to them how happy their note will make Grandpa or Aunt Ellen. In newspaper advice columns across the country, people are lamenting that they haven’t received thank you notes. But it doesn’t have to be a dying art. If you teach your children the joy of writing at an early age, they’ll continue it throughout their life . . . and it will help them maintain strong relationships that we all know are the key to happiness in life.

How to Write a Get Well Soon Message

Tips for writing a good get well soon messageThroughout our lives people we love get hurt or sick. A handwritten note expressing our concern and wishes for recovery will mean so much to the recipient. It shows that we’re thinking about them and we’ve taken the time to let them know. Writing a get well soon message is not complicated.

5 Tips

• Be positive and upbeat. This is not a formal letter, so express yourself naturally.
• If the letter is going to a friend or family member, you could bring up something that you both experienced or shared. This will make your message more personal.
• Let them know you miss them, and perhaps offer a specific example.
• A humorous anecdote or good news is always welcome and will lighten the mood.
• Reassure them of your support and assistance.

Dear Elizabeth,
I was so sorry to hear that you’ve been under the weather recently. I certainly hope that you’ll be back up and feeling like yourself again soon. We really miss your sense of humor around here at the office — not to mention your homemade cookies.
I hope that you’ll get plenty of rest and feel better soon. Please let me know if there’s anything at all that I can do for you to make things easier. I’d be happy to go to the grocery store or run an errand for you. Don’t hesitate to call me if there’s something I can do for you. Wishing you a speedy recovery!
Sincerely,

Don’t procrastinate — write your get well message in a timely manner. They’ll appreciate your sincere and genuine interest in their well-being.

Writing a heartfelt get well message for someone, whether family, friend, colleague or co-worker, is a thoughtful and considerate gesture. They’ll greatly appreciate and remember your thoughtfulness.

4 Steps to Perfect Wedding Thank You Notes

Classic Monogram Bordered Card by Giftsin24.com

Customize the Classic Monogram Bordered Card with a monogram or colored border that matches your wedding colors

The new wedding dishes have found a home in your kitchen. The wedding photos are on their way. And memories of your blissful honeymoon are fresh in your mind. Now what? Have you written your first wedding thank you note yet?

It might be time to tackle that pile of thank you notes you owe to your family and friends. The simple act of handwriting a thoughtful note will be a meaningful memento to them. They put in a lot of effort to help you celebrate. Taking the time to write a beautiful thank you note speaks volumes about the type of person you are and the kinds of relationships you’ll maintain for the rest of your life.

So, find your favorite pen. Choose some beautiful stationery and consult your gift list. Then start writing.

1. The Basic Format for the Wedding Thank You Note

The typical format for a wedding thank you note usually goes like this:

Salutation.

First line: thank them for the gift–be sure to name it. If it’s money, avoid naming the amount. The words “generous gift” will suffice.

Second line: tell them how you plan to use it, or some way that you admire or appreciate it.

Third line: thank them for their friendship or support or for coming to your event

Close. (Be sure both bride and groom sign each note.)

Simple, right?

2. Beyond the Basics

Move beyond these basics when writing to people especially close to you, or those who put extra thought and care into the gift. Perhaps you can keep these people on a separate “short list.” Add a few lines that acknowledge the generosity of parents who footed some of the wedding expenses. Praise the thoughtfulness of an aunt who created a beautiful handmade quilt out of your childhood clothes. Thank a friend who traveled across the country to be there for your big day.

Sienna Monogram Note from giftsin24.com makes a great wedding thank you note

The Sienna Monogram Note features a flowing, elegant monogram. It makes a beautiful wedding thank you note.

3. Add a Small Token

You might also choose to share a small object or additional lines of writing that are meaningful to you. You might tuck in a favorite recipe you discovered at a restaurant on your  honeymoon. Include a special quote from a parent’s toast or a lyric from your first dance. Try slipping in seeds of your favorite tree or fruit or vegetable. Perhaps you might slide in a wedding photo of you and the person you are thanking.

4. Choose Lovely Stationery with a Couple’s Monogram

May we suggest writing your thank you notes on single panel cards or folded notes featuring a beautifully embossed “couple’s monogram”? Your shared last name initial takes the center spot. Her first initial is on the left, his first initial is on the right.

Here are some of our favorites:

Traditional Monogram Note  Simple & tasteful. Thank-you notes folded in white or ivory paper never go out of style. A perennial top-seller, our Traditional Monogram Note features a flowing, embossed script for a timeless look. Ships in 24 hours.

Classic Frame Monogram Note from Giftsin24.com

A couple’s monogram features the shared last initial in the center, her first initial on the left and his first initial on the right.

Classic Frame Monogram Note   Giftsin24 features stationery by the top producer of embossed social stationery in the U.S., and this folding note is one reason why. You have to see and feel it in your hand to understand it: crisp, deeply impressed borders and gracefully winding letters lend elegant formality, while creamy, thick paper provides weight and consequence. Offered in traditional white or ivory with matching envelopes.

Classic Monogram Bordered Card   Fashions come and go, but the Classic Monogram Bordered Card is always in style. Featuring a beautifully rendered monogram in your choice of 10 raised-ink colors and a bold border in your choice of 6 colors, this card offers a multitude of options from which to create your signature look for your wedding thank you note. Try navy ink on white paper for a classic feel. If you like your stationery to match your morning latte, try the mocha ink on ivory paper. As with all our notes and cards, 50 matching envelopes are included. Optional lined envelopes make this stationery set even more yummy.

 

Write Dad a Letter this Father’s Day

Write Dad a letter on Father's Day. Here are some tips and ideas.Write Dad a letter on Father’s Day to tell him how much he means to you.

No matter how old we get, our fathers are still our dads. We look to them for guidance and advice.  Sadly, I no longer have my own Dad (pictured here with The Nittany Lion at a Penn State game), but I have wonderful, touching and funny memories. He was an example of a modern-day dad at a time when it wasn’t the norm, and he was a role model for his family.

If you’re fortunate enough to still have him, write Dad to tell him how much he means to you. A hand-written letter, in simple and heartfelt words, will mean the world to him. More than any tool, tie or gadget, a letter will be treasured and saved. He can read it whenever he wants to be reminded of how much he’s loved.

 

Tips for Writing a Letter to Dad on Father’s Day

Here are a few ideas on what to write to Dad:

Tell him how much the time spent with him at a special event or outing meant to you: “Dad, remember that camping trip we took when I was twelve? We had such a great time!”

Remind him of something he taught you: “I’ll never forget the afternoon you taught me how to fish and it started storming while we were out on the lake.”

Share a personal reflection or humorous anecdote: “I still laugh every time I think about that time you ….. “!”

Let him know how a piece of advice he gave you impacted your life: “I don’t know what I would have done without your help during that time. It really made a difference. Thanks, Dad.”

If you have your own family now, share your thoughts about fatherhood and your Dad’s role in shaping your beliefs: “Thanks for showing me what being a dad is all about. You’ve always been a great example for me.”FD-1

Let your Dad know you’re proud of him. Tell him that you appreciate his love.  And remember:

“It’s admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there is a special place in heaven for the father who takes his daughter shopping.” (John Sinor, San Diego Tribune newspaper columnist)

Writing a Memorable Mother’s Day Message

Writing a Mother's Day message is easy with these tips.

Reminiscing about your favorite childhood memory is a classic letter writing strategy.

The perfect Mother’s Day card is within reach. The answer is right in your hand…and your heart. Pull out a pen and write a sweet letter on a beautiful piece of stationery. It will be a keepsake Mother’s Day message she’ll treasure for years to come.

You don’t need to be a professional writer to craft a heart-felt Mother’s Day message. Try these approaches, from easiest to most difficult.

5 Ideas for Writing Mother’s Day Messages

A simple list of thank-yous. Write the reasons why you are grateful to her. Sometimes it’s nice to number them, as in “5 reasons I love you” or “10 reasons why you’re the best mom ever.”  Mention the simple things: “I love your beautiful smile.” And, include the deeper reasons: “Mom, you’ve always been a role model for me, showing me how to handle myself when life gets hard.”

circle-monogram-note-by-giftsin24.com

The embossed Circle Monogram Note gives a modern spin to the traditional monogram. From www.giftsin24.com

The year in review. Here’s another list idea: Go back in your mind through the past year and jot down some of your favorite moments with her: “taking Jack and Olivia for a walk in the park, baking gingerbread together last Christmas, helping me come up with plan B when I burnt John’s birthday cookies, opening up my birthday present and finding that gorgeous quilt you made for me….”

Wishful words. Tell her all the things you wish you could do for her, if only you had enough money and time. “I’d buy you a castle and a horse-drawn carriage. I’d hire a sky writer to write you a love poem in the clouds. Or, I’d take you on a world tour of Paris, London, and Tokyo like we’ve always dreamed of…”

Go down memory lane. Write a story about your favorite childhood memory with her. It can be funny, sad, touching, sweet or all of the above.

Discover your inner poet. Write a short, free verse poem. The beauty of free verse is that it doesn’t have to rhyme!

Mother, you are my inspiration,
Showing me what it means to be a woman,
Handling life with courage and grace.
I feel so happy when I’m with you.
You share your warm smile and ready laugh
And go-get-’em attitude.
I’m so grateful that you are in my life

A Work of Art… and Love

Writing out your thoughts on a beautiful blank card can bring so much meaning to Mother’s Day. Crafting a touching letter takes just a few minutes, but it can give your mother many moments of quiet joy whenever she takes it out and peruses it.